Can Ghana Achieve Nuclear Power Production In 2030?

Joseph-Albert Kuuire
By Joseph-Albert Kuuire 4 Min Read

For a country to develop to its full strength, it needs to develop energy for manufacturing and for businesses to produce optimally.

Ghana is a country with a growing population and an economy on the upswing. But the country faced multiple energy crises in the past.

The country has faced frequent power outages, and high electricity tariffs, and is dependent on fossil fuels and hydroelectricity. These sources of energy are not only unreliable and expensive but also harmful to the environment and human health.

The country has been considering alternate sources including renewables such as solar. But recently, Ghana has been considering another alternative source of energy for its development needs: Nuclear Power.

What is Nuclear Power?

Nuclear power is the use of nuclear fission to generate heat and electricity from atoms splitting apart. Nuclear power plants produce very little greenhouse gas emissions compared to fossil fuels, and can operate continuously for long periods of time without interruption.

How Nuclear Power Works. Image credit: US Dept of Energy

Ghana has a long history of interest in nuclear technology, dating back to 1957 when it gained its independence from Britain. The first president of Ghana, Kwame Nkrumah, initiated the Ghana Nuclear Reactor Project (GNRP) in 1964 to introduce nuclear science and technology into the country. However, the project was abandoned after he was overthrown in a military coup in 1966.

Since then, Ghana has made several attempts to revive its nuclear ambitions, with support from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and other countries such as China and Russia.

In 2007, President John Agyekum Kufuor announced his support for building nuclear power plants in Ghana. In 2015, Ghana signed an agreement with Russia’s Rosatom to cooperate on nuclear energy development.

In 2018, Ghana established Nuclear Power Ghana (NPG), a project organisation set up to manage Ghana’s first nuclear power project.

Development of Nuclear Power

Ghana is currently undergoing preparatory steps for nuclear energy generation under the guidance of the IAEA. These steps include developing a legal framework, conducting feasibility studies, selecting sites for potential reactors, and ensuring public acceptance and safety standards, among others. Ghana aims to complete these steps by 2029 and start operating its first nuclear power plant by 2030.

Nuclear power has many benefits for Ghana’s development goals. It can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and mitigate climate change impacts. It can also enhance energy security and diversify the energy mix.

It can create jobs and boost economic growth through industrialisation and innovation. It can also improve access to electricity for rural areas and social services such as health care and education.

However, nuclear power also comes with challenges and risks that need to be carefully addressed. These include high upfront costs of building reactors (Estimate total plant costs of between $2 and $4 billion); managing radioactive waste safely; preventing accidents or sabotage; ensuring regulatory oversight; training qualified personnel; securing fuel supply; complying with international obligations; among others.

Therefore, Ghana needs to weigh the pros and cons of nuclear power carefully before making a final decision. It also needs to engage with all stakeholders such as government agencies; civil society organisations; local communities; media outlets; academic institutions; private sector actors; among others – to ensure transparency; accountability; participation; education; awareness-raising – on all aspects of nuclear power development.

Nuclear power might be the future in Ghana if it can overcome these challenges and risks successfully – while harnessing its benefits effectively – for sustainable development.

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Joseph-Albert Kuuire is the creator, editor, and journalist at Tech Labari. Email: Twitter: @jakuuire
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